Did you know that diarrhea or diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children five years and below? Among the many questions about diarrhea is how to stop it. Here are some important information about diarrhea and how you can manage it.
What is Diarrhea?
Obviously, when a person has diarrhea, he or she can experience manifestations of loose or watery stool or bowel movements. It is common to have this and usually it is not serious.
Although it is normal for people to get diarrhea a few times a year, some have abnormal conditions or irritable bowel syndrome.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea will happen because of a certain virus that reaches your gut. Usually, it is called stomach flu or intestinal flu. The top causes of diarrhea include the following.
- Too much consumption of alcohol
- Allergic reactions to certain foods
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Consumption of food that can upset the digestive system
- Bacterial infection or other organisms causing most types of food poisoning
- Abusive intake of laxatives
- Certain medications
- Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid
- Those under radiation therapy
- Running can sometimes cause diarrhea, but no clear reasons are established
- Certain types of cancers
- Digestive system surgery
- Mal-absorption or the difficulty in absorbing certain nutrients
In most cases, diarrhea can follow after a person experienced constipation, particularly for people who have had irritable bowel syndrome.
- Bacteria or Parasites – Bacteria and parasites can be transmitted to your body when you accidentally ingested contaminated food or water. Oftentimes, a person can have diarrhea when travelling in developing countries. This syndrome is called traveler’s diarrhea.
Another type of bacteria that can cause serious infections is called Clostridium difficile. This causes diarrhea, which can occur after a course of antibiotic intake or during hospitalization.
- Fructose – A certain type of sugar found naturally in honey and fruits, is called fructose. Sometimes it is added as a sweetener for certain beverages. However, it can lead to diarrhea if taken by people who have difficulty in digesting fructose.
- Lactose Intolerance – Another type of sugar found in milk or dairy products is called lactose. When people consume dairy products and have difficulty digesting lactose, they will likely have diarrhea. This condition can increase with age due to the fact that the levels of the enzyme that digest lactose will drop after childhood.
- Medications – A number of medications, including antibiotics, can trigger diarrheal diseases. This is because good and bad bacteria can be destroyed by antibiotics, disturbing the natural balance of the bacteria in the intestines.
Drugs used to treat cancer and some antacids with magnesium can also cause diarrhea.
- Surgery – Sometimes, abdominal or gallbladder removal can be a factor in diarrheal disease.
- Viruses – Another factor that can cause diarrhea is viral infection. Among these viruses are cytomegalovirus, Norwalk virus, and viral hepatitis. On the other hand, a common cause for acute childhood diarrhea is called rotavirus.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
There are a number of symptoms for diarrheal disease, but these will depend on the cause. One or more of the following are common manifestations of diarrhea.
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Frequent urge to move your bowels
- Large volumes of stool
If ever you have experienced any or several of the symptoms of diarrhea, it is best to talk to your physician about it.
When to See a Doctor?
It is best to see your doctor once you experience any of the following conditions.
- If the diarrhea persists more than just a few days
- When you become dehydrated
- When you have severe rectal or abdominal pains
- If you have black or bloody stool
- When you have fever over 39 degrees Centigrade or 102 degrees Fahrenheit
How to Get Rid of Diarrhea?
If you are aiming to stop diarrhea when it strikes, then here are quick remedies for you.
- Over-the-Counter Medication
If you are suffering from sudden diarrhea attack without any obvious causes, you could use some help from an over-the-counter medication. Remedies such as pink bismuth or loperamide are effective solutions if you want quick results.
These may also be useful to reduce the frequency of stool and relieve cramping.
- Drink Water
Another good option to get rid of diarrhea is to prioritize hydration. This is because having diarrhea is extremely dehydrating. So it is advised that you take as much fluid as you can.
However, it is not advisable to consume dehydrating beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, prunes, or sugar. This is because they have a laxative effect which could make your trip to the bathroom more frequently.
- Sports Drinks
There are lots of sports drinks in the market, including the popular beverage promoted by athletes. Indeed, this is a potent move against diarrhea because it replenishes electrolytes after an intense workout.
This is even more so when the volume and frequency of the watery stool is significant. So, vital steps must be done in order to avoid dehydration.
Remember that the moment you lose fluids from your body, you can also deplete the electrolyte supply of your body.
- Skip The Dairy and Fried Foods For Now
You must skip the dairy and heavy fatty foods if you have diarrhea or tend to be sensitive to such diet. Of course, you may still get the probiotic-rich yogurt diet that you have started.
- Try The BRAT Diet
You may think this is silly, but your mom’s remedy when you had tummy aches during childhood could actually work. That was similar to the BRAT diet, which is an acronym that stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This is in fact an old dietary solution that is still effective up until this day.
- Have Some Salty Snacks
Aside from drinking sports drinks, you can munch on some mildly salty crackers. This is quite potent because of its low salt content and residue. But this is not advisable for those with high blood pressure or on salt-restricted dieting.
- Probiotic Or Good Bacteria Diet
Of course, a lot of bad bacteria are present inside your gut when you have diarrhea. You can remedy it by replacing them with good bacteria intake in probiotics such as lactobacillus and saccharomyces boulardii, which are proven helpful in certain cases of diarrheal disease.
Nevertheless, for those experiencing severe symptoms, you still have to call your physician as soon as possible.